Homebuilders and sector-related exchange traded funds may be shedding off the winter freeze with the official start of the spring season as home construction companies offer an optimistic outlook.

Year-to-date, the SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (NYSEArca: XHB) rose 5.1% and the iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF (NYSEArca: ITB) gained 5.4%.

“This is the start of the best spring selling season of the past five years,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Robert Wetenhall Jr. said in a Wall Street Journal article.

The industry is hoping that it will experience a quick rebound after experiencing a 17% plunge in housing starts over February and seeing weak mortgage applications due to the extended winter storms.

In its quarterly report, Lennar revealed deliveries increased 19%, new orders – an indicator of builders’ future performance – increased 18% and sales jumped 21%. LEN makes up 3.4% of XHB and 10.8% of ITB.

Lennar, along with other top builders, have attributed their double-digit gains in sales to factors like the growing economy, rising job growth and low interest rates. Together the top six builders revealed an average 19% rise in orders over the last quarter, up from 3.3% int he same period last year, Reuters reports.

The positive readings on homebuilders activity suggests that the February housing starts fall were a result of the harsh winter weather, rather than weakness in underlying demand.

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